In China Looks at the West: Identity, Global Ambitions, and the Future of Sino-American Relations, former diplomat and Hudson Institute Senior Fellow Christopher Ford explores what American strategists can learn about Chinese politics, policy, and geopolitical ambitions from China’s historic understandings of and approaches to the United States.
Based upon research originally undertaken for the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment, Dr. Ford’s book traces Chinese understandings of America from the end of the Qing Dynasty to the present day. The book focuses on the role various narratives have played in the Chinese Communist Party’s domestic legitimacy discourse, the ongoing tension between strategic caution and aggressiveness in Chinese foreign policy, and the assumed imperative of “returning” to geopolitical centrality, a goal that has shaped Beijing’s long-term strategy into what Chinese leaders assume is an ongoing, zero-sum competition with the U.S.
At a time when American policymakers confront unprecedented challenges posed by Beijing’s global assertiveness, Hudson Institute hosted a discussion about Dr. Ford’s book and its implications for U.S.-China strategy. Congressman J. Randy Forbes (R-VA) keynoted the event. The panel, which included Dr. Ford and China policy experts Elbridge Colby and Maochun Yu, was moderated by the director of Hudson’s Center for Chinese Strategy, Michael Pillsbury.